Dr Sebastian Kraemer

 Honorary Consultant at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, London; formerly Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in the paediatric department at the Whittington Hospital, London.


Prof Joan Raphael-Leff

Psychoanalyst and lead for the UCL/Anna Freud Centre Academic Faculty for Psychoanalytic Research. 

Tessa Baradon

Consultant, parent/infant psychotherapist, child and adolescent psychotherapist, and psychoanalyst at The Anna Freud Centre, London. Co-director of the International Training School for Infancy and Early Years (ITSIEY)

Maggie Harris

Retired Specialist Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Specialist. Contributor to NHS Health Education Englands ‘Specialist Health Visitors in Perinatal and Infant Mental Health – What they do and why they matter’ publication 2016 

From Sebastian:

The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry – 60:9 (2019), pp 944–952. Early caregiving predicts attachment representations in adolescence: findings from two longitudinal studies.

Conclusions: Parental sensitive responding in childhood has enduring effects on attachment representation in adolescence, independent of current parenting relationship quality. These findings provide important new evidence supporting early parenting interventions for promoting youth well-being and adjustment. Read paper here

The Infant Socialist : Mean Societies Produce Mean People

Babies haven’t changed much for millennia. Give or take a few enzymes this perfectly designed little bundle of desires and interests has not needed to evolve. Of all primates, the human is the most immature at birth, after which brain growth accelerates and is ‘wired’ according to the kinds of experience the infant has. Provided there are a few familiar and affectionate people there to care continuously for him or her, baby will be fine. If not, evolution has taken care of that too. You live in a cruel world and treat him roughly? He will develop into a compulsively self-reliant and ruthless individual with little concern for others. Mean societies produce mean people…..read the rest of Sebastian’s paper here

Views and references to ‘Look to Home-Start for the key to equalising children’s life chances’

Guardian Letter Click here

Frank Field writes: “Mega sums of money have been invested by successive governments in early education and childcare. But the country has yet to demand the investment of equivalent sums in services that focus on parenting and the home.” On the same day is news of £750m cuts (more than a quarter of the total) to local early years provision in the past five years (Children at risk ‘forced to fend for themselves’ after budget cuts, 28 September ’18); this ought to be a national scandal, but is not; it barely registers. 

Why is it so difficult to think seriously about the earliest and most critical phase of human development? Our only access to what infants experience is from the enthralling and sometimes disturbing impact they have on us. For many, including those who make policy, it is simply unbearable to contemplate their helplessness, so we switch off.

It is like trying to persuade the majority that climate change is doing us harm; even those who agree forget their assent within minutes. Because these things cannot be fully imagined: neither global warming nor the essentials of infant development can be thought about for long enough to concentrate the public mind. 

Dr Sebastian Kraemer   Association for Infant Mental Health (UK)

Click here for for further correspondence with The Guardian, from both Sebastian and Peter Toolan (AIMH (UK) North-East and Cumbria Hub Lead; Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, Clinical Lead NEWPIP)

An interesting article here: US researchers have found early intervention can help prevent negative experiences in infancy turning into health risks. Can people be saved from a terrible childhood?  and here is one of the schemes highlighted: Attachment and Biobehavioural Catch-up – The National Child Traumatic Stress Network 

A Standing Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) Around the Pregnant Woman – Sebastian Kraemer

Without timely intervention the risk of longer term damage to mother and child is increased, leaving more severe problems for other agencies to pick up months or years later.

To minimise some falling through the net, midwifery and obstetric teams require regular coordinated support from a range of agencies and specialists.  Notes and references on perinatal risks and its management 

Health and Social Care Committee

06/11/18 – An important discussion in the Health and Social Care Committee; Oral evidence: First 1000 days of life, 6 November 2018 read here

14/11/18 – Hot on the heels of the Health and Social Care Committee’r report, here is the Science and Technology Committee’s view on early intervention. Despite its title it is possibly a little more encouraging; read here 

“there is no clear, overarching national strategy from the UK Government targeting childhood adversity and early intervention as an effective approach to address it. Nor does there seem to be effective oversight mechanisms for the Government or others to monitor what local authorities are doing. This has led to a fragmented and highly variable approach to early intervention across England, with evidence of a significant gap between what the latest evidence suggests constitutes best practice and what is actually delivered by many authorities. Where local authorities are not providing early intervention based on the best available evidence, vulnerable children are being failed.

 “The new national strategy should be targeted at, and acted upon by, all local authorities. In addition to this, the Early Intervention Foundation should identify local authorities willing to become ‘Early Intervention Places’, which would receive particular support from the central, specialist team we have recommended.”  


From Maggie:

I am delighted to have donated towards the AIMHigh 2019 Conference Award this year, in recognition of a Health Visitor or Early Years Practitioner ‘who has shown a commitment to raising awareness of infant mental health’

Congratulations to Jane Davies. Jane is the Specialist Health Visitor for the Enfield Parent Infant Partnership (EPIP)